When the weather is cooling off, you may be thinking about how you’ll prepare your heating and cooling. After all, HVAC expenses routinely make up a significant piece of your monthly electric bill. To learn new ways to reduce costs, some owners take a closer look at their thermostat. Is there a setting they could use to boost efficiency?
The majority of thermostats include both a ‘Fan’ or ‘Fan On’ setting. But if the fan is running during a typical cycle, what can the fan setting offer for an HVAC system? This guide will help. We’ll review what exactly the fan setting is and when you can use it to save money during the summer or winter.
What Is the Fan Setting on My Thermostat?
For the bulk of thermostats, the fan setting signifies that the HVAC blower fan remains on. Certain furnaces may continue to generate heat at a low level in this setting, but for the most part heating or cooling isn’t being produced. The ‘Auto’ setting, on the other hand, will turn on the fan through a heating or cooling cycle and switch it off once the cycle is finished.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using the fan setting on your thermostat, and the ideal option should depend on your personal comfort needs.
Advantages to utilizing the Fan/On setting:
- You can keep the temperature in each room more consistent by enabling the fan to keep generating airflow.
- Indoor air quality can increase as steady airflow will keep forcing airborne particles through the air filter.
- A smaller number of start-stop cycles for the system's fan helps expand its life span. Because the air handler is typically part of the furnace, this means you can minimize the risk of needing furnace repair.
Downsides to switching to the Fan/On setting:
- A continuous fan could increase your energy expenses slightly.
- Nonstop airflow can clog your air filter up more quickly, increasing the frequency you’ll need to replace it.
Should My Thermostat Be on Fan or Auto in Summer/Winter
Through the summer, warm air will sometimes linger in unfinished spaces like the attic or an attached garage. If you use the fan setting, your HVAC system might gradually move this warm air into the rest of your home, forcing the HVAC system to work more to maintain the desired temperature. In severe heat, this could lead to needing AC repair more often as wear and tear grows.
The opposite can occur over the winter. Cooler spaces such as a basement will hold onto cooler air, which may eventually make its way into the rest of your home. Leaving the fan running may pull more cold air upward, increasing the amount of heating you need to stay warm.
If you’re still trying to decide if you should use the fan/on setting, keep in mind that every home and family’s comfort needs are not the same. Leaving the HVAC system’s fan on could be best for you if:
Someone in your household deals with allergies. Allergies and other respiratory conditions can be tough on the family. Leaving the fan on can help to increase indoor air quality, helping your family breathe easier.
Your home deals with hot and cold spots. Many homes wrestle with difficult hot and cold spots that quickly shift to a temperature different from the rest of the house. The fan setting can help limit these changes by constantly refreshing each room’s supply of air.